Calton Hill with its volcanic rockbase, gorse-strewn hillface is one of Edinburgh's main hills, set right in the city centre. It is unmistakable with its Athenian acropolis rising above the skyline. The acropolis is in fact an unfinished monument - originally called the "National Monument". Initiated in 1816, a year after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, it was meant to be a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, as a memorial to those who had died in the Napoleonic Wars. Building began in 1822, but funds ran dry and celebrated Edinburgh architect William Playfair only got to see a facade of his building completed.
The top of Calton hill is an excellent and usually quiet place to come on any day, with its grassy slopes and panoramic views of the city, including down the length of Princes street (the main shopping thoroughfare) and Edinburgh castle. There is a good view North of the ruddy-coloured cliffs of Salisbury Crags and the undulating slopes of Holyrood Park.
On the summit of Calton Hill there are two observatories, the Old Observatory, designed by New Town architect James Craig in 1792; and the City Observatory, built in 1818, there's also a Nelson's tower commemorating his naval victory at Trafalgar in 1805.
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